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What Is Book Value?


What Is Book Value?


"Book value" is a way of talking about a company's basic net worth. It's the total value of everything it owns minus what it owes.

Key Takeaways

  • Book value tells us how much a company is worth. It's what the company owns minus what it owes.
  • You can use it to figure out how much a company is worth compared to the total number of shares it has and the price for each share.
  • Before deciding if a stock is a good investment for you, make sure to look at book value along with other measures.

Definition and Examples of Book Value

The book value of a company is just what it owns minus what it owes. This includes everything valuable the company has, except for things like goodwill that don't have immediate cash value. Liabilities cover all the money the company owes, both short-term and long-term.

Book Value = What a company owns minus what it owes.

In simpler terms, if you decided to shut down the business, how much money would be left after selling everything and paying off all the debts? That leftover amount is the company's book value.

For example, let's say a company has assets worth ₹20 Lakh and owes ₹10 Lakh in debts. Its book value would be ₹10 Lakh.

  • Alternate terms: Net worth and shareholders' equity mean the same thing. They both refer to the overall value of a company after subtracting its debts.

How to Use Book Value When You Invest

Looking at book value by itself doesn't tell you much about how valuable and profitable a company can be. For instance, if one company has a net worth of ₹10lakh and another has ₹20 lakh, it doesn't mean the second one is always a better place to invest your money. That's why people who use it often check book value along with other measures to compare different stocks.

One way to compare companies is to look at book value per share, which is just the book value divided by the number of outstanding shares. Let's expand on the example from earlier:

  • The initial company has a total value of ₹10 Lakh, and there are 100,000 shares available. So, each share's value is ₹10.
  • The second company is valued at ₹20 Lakh, and there are 10,000 shares available. This means each share is worth ₹200.

Another common method people use is to compare price-to-book ratios among companies. This ratio looks at a company's share price compared to its book value per share. Let's continue with the earlier example:

  • The first company has each share valued at ₹10 based on its book value, but in the market, each share is priced at ₹50. This gives it a price-to-book ratio of 5.0. Investors might view this as a stock that's considered overpriced.
  • The second company values each share at ₹200 based on its book value, but in the market, each share is priced at ₹100. This results in a price-to-book ratio of 0.5. Investors might interpret this as a stock that's considered undervalued.

At first glance, the initial company seemed more appealing, but upon closer examination, there are some concerns that have come to light.


Smart investors will make sure to evaluate a stock from multiple perspectives instead of relying on just one value indicator.

The Limits of Book Value

When assessing a company's worth, it's important to consider more than just its book value. Book value doesn't take into account intangible assets like patents, copyrights, and trademarks, which can add significant value over time.

Additionally, book value relies on historical costs for certain assets, potentially undervaluing them, especially in the case of appreciating assets like real estate. Companies using aggressive depreciation methods for capital assets may also distort the picture, making the book value higher than the actual assets minus liabilities.

To get a more accurate understanding of a company's value, it's advisable to explore other valuation metrics that consider factors beyond the limitations of book value. This ensures a comprehensive assessment of the company's true worth.


A successful and expanding company will consistently hold a higher value than its book value. This is because such companies have the capability to generate earnings and achieve growth over time.

Other Vital Values for Investors

Before fully committing to an investment, it's crucial to grasp various aspects of a stock's value. Take the time to explore and comprehend a few other key terms. This will help ensure you have a well-rounded understanding before making any significant investment decisions.

  • Earnings per share (EPS): This is the earnings that each share of stock gets a portion of.
  • Price-to-earnings ratio (P/E): This gauges the current share price in relation to the earnings per share.
  • Projected earnings growth (PEG): This examines how the price-to-earnings ratio stacks up against the growth ratio.
  • Price-to-sales ratio (P/S): The price-to-sales ratio (P/S) is calculated by dividing a company's market cap by its latest annual revenue. Another way to find P/S is by dividing the stock's price per share by its per-share revenue.
  • Dividend payout ratio: This number shows how the dividends given to stockholders stack up against the company's overall net income.
  • Dividend yield: This is a percentage calculated from the current share price by dividing the company's yearly dividend by the current share price, then multiplying by 100.
  • Return on equity (ROE): ROE (Return on Equity) assesses how profitable a company is based on the value of each shareholder's ownership in the company.

Written by Sauravsingh

Techpreneur and adept trader, Sauravsingh Tomar seamlessly blends the worlds of technology and finance. With rich experience in Forex and Stock markets, he's not only a trading maven but also a pioneer in innovative digital solutions. Beyond charts and code, Sauravsingh is a passionate mentor, guiding many towards financial and technological success. In his downtime, he's often found exploring new places or immersed in a compelling read.

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